I had read the reviews and did not have high expectations. I can't say though that all of my low expectations were met. Overall, it is decent enough, just not as nice as what I am used to. As an American I found it had a better vibe than the resorts I've stayed at on the British influenced Caribbean islands. It is a family friendly resort. I'd have to say that the best point of the hotel is the service and atmosphere at Iggies.
My first impression was not impressive. Lobby is very small and clerk had no personality. We were not made to feel welcome upon arrival at all. We also did not receive a welcome rum punch even though they said they would send one. This has to be the first hotel I have stayed at that did not have a book in the room to tell you about the resort and what the hours and policies were. I wouldn't even have known what time check out was had it not been on the check-in paperwork. Once again, I was very unhappy to have to wear an armband for my entire stay for all-inclusive services. This really made no sense, as you were required to sign for everything you ate or drank and give your room number. I have never been to an all-inclusive before that kept track of every little thing you drank. They kept track of everything so diligently there was no need at all for the armband.
Be forewarned that there are iguanas running around everywhere. DON'T sit under a palm tree or one may fall on you!!! Yes, I said fall on you!!! They make quite a thud when they land!!! I was shocked that none of the staff seemed to be concerned about the potential for someone to be injured. The rooms are also full of tiny little bugs crawling all over the counters. I hope none of them came home with me!!!
Getting around the resort could be challenging for some people with mobility issues. The walkways and sidewalks are uneven. There are also lots of steps.
Also be warned that beachfront does not mean oceanfront. One building is considered beachfront as you walk out onto the sand, but you are farther from the ocean. I would call it oceanview, not oceanfront. I was let down by the view we received. I expected much better.
View - OK, not the best. You can see their Buck Island. You can't see the sunset or sunrise.
Rooms - mattresses are comfy and seem new, furniture is fairly nice but needs leveled with the floor, linens are decent, overall spacious
Bathrooms - have a nice big vanity, but floor tiles need to be replaced, showers are small and have no shelves for toiletries, showerheads are old and small, water temp in shower is difficult to regulate
Sleep - Just forget about it!!! All the doors and windows have screens and louvers instead of glass. You hear ALL the noise from outside. I would also imagine those outside can hear what you are doing. You can't go to sleep early because you hear the LOUD band from the bar until 11 or 12. Then you have bugs and frogs hollaring until the early morning when it's the roosters turn to take over. The hotel is also right beside a busy road so you hear the traffic whizzing by, including many garbage and delivery trucks. Then they clean the beach with a sand machine starting at 6:30 AM. Turning on the A/C doesn't help the problem as it is very noisy.
Tour desk - Lady is about snooty. She wants to tell you what days to do things, not let you decide for yourself. If you want more info about something she will place a call and let you talk to them instead of finding out herself. She's not the least bit interested in helping you find out about anthing that isn't on her list. They do NOT rent cars at the hotel, make your own arrangements before you arrive!! You can book the excursions they offer on your own for a lot less money. Included turtle sail and sunset sail with all-inclusive was OK, not great. Crew was very nice. Refreshments on cruises were very minimal.
Beach - is small, but adequate, water is clear and usually calm. You will definetly need water shoes. There are a lot of rocks and seaweed.
Pool - is small, no hot tub - never did find out what the pool hours are, I'm assuming they didn't want people swimming at night as the pool in right in front of the restaurant
Activities - far end of property has a tennis court, basketball court, sand volleyball, and bean bag games. There are also plenty of watersports. Dive shop is on-site and has daily excursions. Scuba lessons are also offered in the pool.
TV- they're old-style, but that's OK - problem is there are very few channels and the worst part is that they're all fuzzy
Food - OK, nothing spectacular. Breakfast is choice of buffet or a la carte. All is good, but limited selection, gets repetative if you are staying longer than a week. Lunch selections are a little limited. Many foods are a little bit spicy. We didn't care for the island style rice served with most of the dinner plates. Black beans were good. Loved the plantains. Some of the meats weren't done enough to suit me, but all were tender and had a good flavor. Crab legs were the worst I've ever had. They were soft and impossible to crack. It was VERY difficult to get the meat out. I've never seen anything like it. Iced tea was horrible!!!!!!!!!! Make your own in the room. Thankfully we were all-inclusive as soft drinks cost $2 and were so small it would take 3 servings to equal a can.
Wait staff- service varied, you never knew what you were going to get. Iggies servers were much better than at the Lobster Grill. At the Lobster Grill you may wait awhile for a table, or to get a drink. The servers tended to be VERY forgetful about drinks. Once you ordered food it was quick to arrive, it just took a long time to get ordered. One night we had a reservation, but still had to wait 1 hour to get a table. People who arrived after us were seated before us. We almost left.
Iggies- made the place. The bartenders were great!!!!! Super nice and friendly and very attentive. You never had to wait for a fresh drink. There was a great atmosphere at Iggies. It felt like it could be your favorite local bar. Everyone was friendly and enjoying themselves. All the entertainment was good. A different band every night, so you didn't get bored. I loved the decor at both restaurants. They reminded me of Hawaii.
Carnival night - Buffet was delicious and had lots of selection. Music was good, but a bit loud. Show was a little disappointing. 3/4 of show was audience participation. Only 1 mocko jumbie and he spent 1/2 hour taking pictures with people instead of waiting until after the show. Performer, from Antigua, was OK. However, we saw a similar show a few years ago in Antigua that was much better. All in all, I was glad that we were all-inclusive, because if we would have had to pay extra for the show I would have been disappointed. They need to be better organized. They didn't inform the guests about the event at all. Several people showed up to eat at Iggies and were unaware that it was carnival night, and all they were serving was the buffet. It also didn't do us much good to get there early to get a good table when a lot of rude people went and stood in front of everyone once the show started. Staff should have made them move!!
Maids - start promptly at 9:30 and make a lot of noise. They usually return in the afternoon to see if you need anything. If you want any privacy you better hang out the Do Not Disturb sign and bolt the door. They are VERY pushy and just yell and walk right in. They don't hesitate even for a second or wait even if you yell back. One day they yelled and came right in even though our sign was out!!! I have never experienced such pushy maids!!!!
St. Thomas- has a few nice areas, but overall, not my kind of place. Coral World has some nice exhibits, but is small, will only take 2-3 hours to see. Downtown is VERY crowded. Most stores and Blackbeard's Castle do not open unless there is more than one cruise ship in port. Call ahead. Fort Christian is closed for renovations.
Driving - Roads are pretty bad, very winding, with many blind crests at the top of hills. Driving can be a bit confusing on the left, and the local drivers are very aggressive. It can also be difficult to find parking. All that said, we still preferred the freedom of having our own car.
St. John - VERY NICE!!! I highly recommend renting a car on this island. We had no problems taking the car ferry from St. Thomas. Island is easy to navigate. St. John is mostly N.P. and is very pristine, natural, and uncrowded. Much more to our liking. There are several interesting sugar plantation and mill ruins to explore and trails to hike. Beaches are beautiful. Roundtrip ferry is cheaper than one-way. Each ferry runs on an hourly schedule making it easy to return when you want to. Weekend tickets are $10 less than weekdays.
B.V.I. - day trip was wonderful, highly recommended. Was a beautiful ride around the different islands with stops on several to see points of interest.
Overall, the resort is only average. Worst part is probably trying to get good, quiet sleep. If you don't have high expectations it will suit you. If you want fancy, posh surroundings don't stay here. There aren't a lot of hotel choices on the island. It's probably a good choice for families and those on a budget. We stopped at Sapphire Beach and found the view and beach spectacular. It is far from the noisy road and has security guards. They also had a nice pool and large balconies. Plus they have a marina and car rental on-site, but no restaurant or bar. So Bolongo Bay is probably the best bet if you want a place that has everything on-site.
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- Also Known As:
- Bolongo Bay Beach Hotel South Coast
- Hotel Bolongo Bay Beach
- Bolongo Bay St Thomas
- Bolongo Bay Beach Resort St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands